Bone density scans are a test that determines the density of one’s bones. Bone density refers to the amount of bone tissue that there is in a given amount of space. Therefore, the denser a bone is, the healthier and stronger it is. When an individual lacks bone density, this means that their bones are fragile and could easily break.
How Does a Bone Density Scan Work?
A DEXA scan is the most common type of test used to determine one’s bone density. The test uses low-energy x-rays from two sources sent through one’s bones to determine their bones density. As the x-rays are sent through your body, a detector on the other side of the x-ray measures the amount of x-rays passing through your bones. The denser your bones are the less x-rays will pass through them; the detector uses the x-rays passing through you to determine your bone density.
Who Should Undergo a Bone Density Scan?
You may be advised to undergo a bone density scan if you are a woman over the age of 65, or a male over the age of 70. However other risk factors may put you at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis (loss of bone density.) If you develop osteoporosis, you will be at an increased risk for fracturing your bones due to a loss of bone density. It is important to undergo periodic bone density scans if you are at risk for osteoporosis, as detection of the disease will help you to build a treatment plan to strengthen your bones. It is also advised that you undergo a bone density scan if you have: taken steroid tablets for more than three months, early menopause, rheumatoid arthritis, have celiac disease, or a body mass index of less than 19.
Certain medical conditions can also cause thinning of the bones:
- Kidney disease
- Hyperparathyroidism (overactive secretion of parathyroid hormone)
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Liver disease
- Intestinal disease
Undergoing a bone density scan can help to ensure that you know the health of your bones. Also, if you are undergoing the signs of osteoporosis, you can begin a treatment plan as soon as possible after receiving a bone density scan. If you believe you may be in need of a bone density scan, contact us. We can help you to determine if this test may be right for you.